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A high-risk pregnancy carries significant risks to the pregnant woman, the fetus, or both. A pregnancy can be high-risk if one has specific medical conditions or is over 35 or under 18 years old. These pregnancies require continual monitoring to reduce the risk of problems. 

What Is A High-Risk Pregnancy?

Every pregnancy carries risks. A "high-risk" pregnancy poses a significant risk to the pregnant person, the fetus, or both. People with high-risk pregnancies might need more care before, during, and after giving birth. This helps to reduce the risk of complications.
However, having a high-risk pregnancy does not guarantee that you or your fetus will experience complications. Despite having special health needs, many people have healthy pregnancies as well as regular labor and delivery.

Causes Of High-Risk Pregnancy

Reasons that a pregnancy may be considered high-risk include:

Maternal Age

One of the most common risk factors for a high-risk pregnancy is the expecting mother’s age. Pregnant women other than the age group of 18-34 are more likely to experience problems than those in their late teens and early thirties. After the age of 40, the risk of miscarriage and genetic abnormalities increases considerably.

Medical Issues That Are Present Before Pregnancy

The following conditions may put the life of the mother or baby at risk:

If you have a known medical condition, you should visit your doctor before getting pregnant. Your doctor may perform tests, change medications, or guide you on steps you should take to protect your and your baby's health.

Medical Problems That Develop During Pregnancy

Even if you are healthy when you get pregnant, you may develop or be diagnosed with pregnancy-related issues that impact both you and your baby. Three of the most prevalent pregnancy-related disorders include:


It is a syndrome characterized by high blood pressure, elevated protein levels in the urine, and swelling; if left untreated, it can be harmful or even fatal to the mother or baby. With adequate management, most women who develop preeclampsia have healthy babies. No one knows what causes preeclampsia. You have a better likelihood if you are older, overweight, or had high blood pressure or diabetes before becoming pregnant. Carrying more than one baby aggravate your risk.

Gestational Diabetes

It is a kind of diabetes that occurs while pregnant. Women with gestational diabetes who follow their doctor's treatment plan can have successful pregnancies and kids. Typically, diabetes resolves after delivery. However, women with gestational diabetes are more likely to acquire type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. To avoid injuring your baby, you may require a C-section rather than a vaginal birth. You are more likely to develop gestational diabetes if you are over 25, pregnant with multiples, overweight, have previously had gestational diabetes or a very large baby, or if someone in your family has diabetes.


Between 14% and 23% of women experience depression during pregnancy. It is more likely if you have previously experienced depression. Pregnancy may be associated with depression due to hormonal changes, tiredness, stress at home, and a lack of support. Depression may also be associated with pregnancy and delivery complications, low birth weight, and premature birth. Depression after birth can make it difficult to care for yourself and your child. Inquire with your doctor or midwife about treatment with talk therapy or medication. Discuss the dangers and advantages of taking medications while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Pregnancy-Related Concerns

Pregnancy is frequently classified as high-risk due to complications that emerge during the pregnancy and have little to do with the mother's health. These include:

  • Premature labor refers to labor that begins before 37 weeks of pregnancy.These babies are more likely to experience health problems or developmental difficulties in the future. Although it is impossible to know in advance which women will have premature labor or birth, there are several risk factors, such as certain infections, a shorter cervix, or a history of preterm birth. 
  • Multiple births indicate that you are carrying more than one baby (twins, triplets, quadruplets, etc.). Multiple pregnancies, which are becoming increasingly common as women seek more infertility treatments, raise the risk of early delivery, gestational diabetes, and pregnancy-induced hypertension.Keep in mind that the majority of multiples are born healthy but some are at higher risk to to suffer from long-term health issues like delayed development or cerebral palsy .
  • Placenta previa is  the condition when the placenta covers the cervix. The condition might cause bleeding, particularly if a woman experiences contractions. If the placenta is still covering the cervix at the end of the pregnancy, the doctor may suggest opting for a cesarean section to decrease the risk of bleeding for both mother and baby.

Ultrasounds can occasionally reveal fetal abnormalities. Approximately 2% to 3% of all babies suffer from a small or major structural issue throughout development. There may be a family history of fetal abnormalities, although these issues are not always predicted.


You can reduce your risk of pregnancy complications by:

  • Avoiding drugs and alcohol.
  • Identifying potential health risks before getting pregnant( pre existing and family history of any disease) 
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight before pregnancy.
  • Managing any preexisting health conditions you may have.
  • Make sure any long-term medications are safe to take during pregnancy.
  • Quitting smoking.
  • Planning pregnancies between the ages of 18 and 34.


Receiving the diagnosis of a high-risk pregnancy might be alarming, but there is hope. Knowing what's going on with your pregnancy and health allows you to take the appropriate precautions to avoid the most dangerous results. Having a high-risk pregnancy can be stressful and make you worried about your baby's health. Try to do everything you can to have a healthy pregnancy. All through your pregnancy, consult with a member of your healthcare team if you have any concerns or require assistance, and immediately tell your healthcare team of any new or unusual symptoms to help lower your risk of pregnancy issues.

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